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Patrick Russell

Patrick heads the non-fiction team at the BFI National Archive, where he has worked since 2000 and has led several major archival projects drawing on the British tradition of documentary and non-fiction filmmaking.

Patrick’s curatorial specialism is the history of industrial and sponsored film, and their equivalents in today’s contemporary corporate media. Among the archive’s rich holdings in this field, he cites as his favourite the film and video collection of the National Coal Board.

He co-edited the books Shadows of Progress: Documentary Film in Post-war Britain (2010) and The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon (2004) and is the author of 100 British Documentaries (2007) and several chapters in edited collections.

Patrick can be contacted at:

Articles by Patrick Russell

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  • Waverley Steps: a day in Edinburgh

    Curator Patrick Russell is intrigued by the abiding romantic power of Waverley Steps, a 1948 evocation of the Scottish capital.

    Wednesday, October 21, 2015


  • Shooting the message #21: Armoury London

    Meet Armoury London, a startup production company with a vast roster of brand films and commercials for clients including Reebok, Grey Goose vodka and Battersea Dogs Home.

    Wednesday, August 5, 2015


  • Shooting the message #20: Video Arts

    The inside scoop on communications film legend Video Arts, founded by Anthony Jay and John Cleese 40 years ago.

    Tuesday, April 28, 2015


  • Shooting the message #19: Radley Yeldar

    Our latest communiqué from the world of corporate filmmaking examines the rise of Radley Yeldar, an award-winning production company with clients including Network Rail and the bulk of FTSE 100 companies.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2015


  • Born in 1915: eight great British documentary filmmakers

    Born 100 years ago, these centenarians all deserve to be remembered as key players of British documentary in the mid-20th century.

    Tuesday, January 6, 2015


  • 10 great Christmas films

    From an early archive treasure to some perennial modern favourites, these are 10 of the best Christmas movies for festive viewing.

    Thursday, December 11, 2014


  • Shooting the message #17: Maverick Advertising and Design

    When the Gibraltar national football team mounted a bid to be let into UEFA, it called upon the services of communications film production company Maverick Advertising and Design. The resulting films are a test-case in the power of moving images to send a message.

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014


  • Shooting the message #16: White Boat TV

    A look at the NHS-wide impact of Barbara’s Story, a powerful cycle of films made for Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital by White Boat TV about an elderly patient experiencing the disorientation of dementia.

    Monday, May 19, 2014


  • Shooting the message #15: ShootMedia

    A look at Walthamstow-based ShootMedia, whose video for ChildLine became the charity’s most successful issue-based film ever, resulting in a 1654% increase in traffic to their website.

    Friday, March 28, 2014


  • Born in 1914: nine great documentary filmmakers

    Curator Patrick Russell shines a light on nine filmmakers born 100 years ago who became major figures in British documentary of the 20th century.

    Monday, March 10, 2014


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